Formerly known as Lhasa People’s Hospital, this is a center for medical care, research, and education in the Tibet Autonomous Region.960 In addition to providing health care for cadres in the autonomous region, the hospital is responsible for health care for local Tibetan cadres, groups travelling to Tibet, important leaders, and celebrities. The hospital often sends experts to all types of hospitals in the autonomous region to provide consultation and guidance.961
This 3A hospital has 650 registered beds, 60 senior specialists, and 226 intermediate specialists. Its staff includes 3 members with PhDs, 15 with master’s degrees, 5 PhD students, and 13 master’s degree students.962
In March 1987, the Tibetan Institute of Medical Sciences was merged into the hospital, and several research projects won many national or provincial science and technology awards. The hospital has established cooperative relationships with many domestic and foreign medical institutions, including those in the United States, Japan, and Britain, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Union Hospital, and West China Hospital of Sichuan University. The hospital’s surgical experts are skillful in brain, chest, abdominal, and urologic surgeries.
There is no organ transplant-related information on its website. However, Chinese media have repeatedly reported that hospitals in Tibet have invited a number of transplant experts from interior provinces to guide and conduct organ transplant surgeries in Tibet.
On December 15, 2002, Xinhua reported:
On the 14th, Lhasa People’s Hospital in Tibet had its first successful orthotopic liver transplant in the Tibet Autonomous Region. This was the first such operation in the world to take place at an altitude of 3,700 metres. The surgery took place at 15:00 on the 13th. The four surgeons included Tang Jinhai, dean of Lhasa People’s Hospital, and Professor Yan Lvnan of Affiliated Hospital of Sichuan Huaxi Medical University. The surgery lasted 14 hours.
Dean Tang Jinhai said that the success of the operation sets an example for future medical research and practice in the plateau region, and puts an end to the part of Tibetan history that does not include major organ transplantation, and that it owes [its success] to the support of the central government.963 964
In order to carry out liver transplants in Tibet, the hospital’s surgical team, led by Dean Tang Jinhai, was sent in groups to receive training from West China Medical University, the hospital’s liver transplant center.965
Tang also revealed a significant detail of this operation. [Regarding] Lhasa being at an altitude of 3,600 meters: “In order to ensure the activity of the liver’s hepatocytes, the extraction of the liver from the donor must take place simultaneously with the removal of the bad liver from the receiver. If the aircraft carrying the donor could not fly from outside the region to Tibet on time due to bad weather, such situations in Tibet are quite common during the winter, the consequences would be disastrous.” 966
This report illustrates that a living “donor” was killed when his/her liver was excised at the same time as the recipient’s bad liver was removed.